The Most Intriguing DISNEY WORLD TIPS AND SECRETS
My, oh, my, what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine headin’ my way
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-AY!!!!!!!!!…….WATCH OUT!!!
Oh my goodness you just ran straight into someone waiting for the Seven Dwarves Mine Train! That line must be as long as the Great Wall of China! To make matters worse the time for the ride is well over 3 hours. This is going to cut into your vacation time for sure. If only there was a way around this crazy line.
Have no fear! Disney World secrets are here!
Long lines, complex history, forgotten space, and other things that add up weirdly. Stuff I have (and probably will again) spent hours on.
FastPass+ is one of the biggest bits of help for your Disney World vacation. This Disney World tip allows your vacation to be more ten times more enjoyable. FastPass+ is an option for you to bypass lines or waiting for a ride or attraction.
Let me give you a run down if you have never heard of a FastPass + before:
You are allowed three FastPass+ passes per park, per day. You can reserve your FastPass+ online or using the mobile app. However, not every ride is going to be available due to the demand for the ride.
Make sure to use the My Disney Experience app. The Disney application doesn’t just help with FastPass+, but also with other factors like dining, shopping, and of course, maps of the parks. The My Disney Experience app will help you with scheduling and making the most of your time at Disney World.
While you are at Disney, also make sure you have your Magic Band. This will be your key into the parks, resorts (if you’re staying at one), money (if you decide to allow charges), and FastPass +. The Magic Band is your Disney lifeline.
Now, FastPass+ is just scratching the surface of all Disney has to offer. Let’s dive deep into different tips and Disney World secrets to make your experience one to remember.
The Forgotten Park
Back in 1976, Disney opened a water park called Disney River Country. Located right on Bay Lake near Fort Wilderness Lodge. The theme was a rustic, old-fashioned swimming hole. In 2001, it closed for what was thought to be a short amount of time but it never reopened. Disney announced in 2005 that it was officially and permanently closed.
The weirdest thing? It still stood, almost exactly as it was left, for almost 20 years. It was finally demolished in April of 2019 to make way for a new Disney resort. Thankfully, there are plenty of pictures online of River Country in its abandoned state, and many have dared to sneak in (I will link to one of those videos below).
A 1978 ad for River Country. Image – Tom Simpson, Flickr
Take a video tour here.
An important Disney World tip for a wonderful experience is to learn your Disney transportation options. Disney has many options for you to get to the parks and resorts. If you are staying on the Disney property at one of the resorts, you will find it very beneficial to use their convenient AND FREE transportation.
If you are staying at one of the Disney resorts, then you are probably aware of the buses. The buses can transport you from resort to park, or from park to park. However, buses are not the only means of transportation.
There is this cool thing called the Monorail. The Monorail is a form of transportation similar to a train, but it operates on a single rail. It’s almost futuristic and was definitely ahead of its time when it first began operating in the 1970s. The Monorail does not go everywhere on Disney property, but it does stop by two parks, Magic Kingdom and Epcot, as well as a few resorts.
The main headquarters for the Monorail is the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), located right outside of Magic Kingdom. From the TTC you can choose to either head to Magic Kingdom or Epcot. Or you can travel to three different resorts. These include Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, then back to either park of your choosing.
The monorail cuts down on time by bypassing all vehicle traffic. This will allow for more time in the parks to catch your favorite show or ride in the nick of time. The monorail is also temperature-controlled and doesn’t ask for you to close your strollers so…..You’re welcome.
Also located at the TTC, there is another transportation option to take a ferry across Bay Lake to Magic Kingdom. Sometimes the lines can be long to get on the monorail and you need something quicker. The ferry can hold close to 300 people or more and there are usually two or three operating at a time. So if you miss one ferry the next will usually arrive in 15 minutes or less.
The ferry ride is very picturesque and relaxing, and I suggest taking it at least once if you can.
If you are staying at the three previously stated resorts (Grand Floridian, Contemporary, or Polynesian) or Disney’s Wilderness Lodge or Fort Wilderness, there is another option to arrive at Magic Kingdom. If you want to arrive in style and desire a more scenic route, choose the boats provided by the resorts. However, they only go to Magic Kingdom.
If you are staying at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, then you have a boat option of arriving at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
Meanwhile, Disney’s Old Key West Rest, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, have ferries going back and forth from Disney Springs.
Other Disney World Hidden Secrets
As you know, Disney World can be expensive. You pay for quality, so your experience is going to be wonderful, but some of the best Disney World hidden secrets are the ones that put more money back in your pocket. For example, what if you could have two Disney vacations for what you think one is going to cost? I can talk about saving money all day, but head over to my Disney on a Budget guide and you will find it all there.
Let’s be honest, if you didn’t take a picture, did your vacation really happen? There are going to be many opportunities to take photos on your visit to Walt Disney Work. When you walk through the parks, such as Main Street USA in Magic Kingdom, there will be cast members taking photos, and you can ask them to take your picture using your own phone. Even when you want to grab a picture with Mickey, you can ask the cast member to use your phone, bypassing the option to buy the photos on Photopass.
It can become extremely hot at Disney World. So make sure you take time out of your busy schedule to catch up on rest and hydration. From the hours of 2pm to 5pm, heat can reach extreme temperatures. If you’ve been running around all day your body just won’t make it. So another tip I suggest is to either take a break by shopping around in air condition or enjoy sit-down shows. One highly recommended show is in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and is called Finding Nemo the Musical. Or you can even head back to your resort for some pool time and a nap.
The reason for going to Disney World is to experience the magic of the theme parks. What even is a Disney vacation without going to the parks? There is so much to do here, so based on my personal experience, I will discuss tips that relate to each particular park.
Disney World Secrets – Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom should be the first park you think about when you think of Disney World, and it features some of the best Disney secrets out there. If you want the magic to come alive, then get yourself to Magic Kingdom ASAP.
One of the first Disney world secrets that I share with anyone is a book that should probably be called the Disney World Bible. Unfortunately, it’s not.
It’s the Unofficial Guide to Disney World. This book works so well, that I, a Disney World expert, buy it every single year.
Magic Kingdom has some of the best rides ever. Not only that, but it has a ride for every single person in your family, from toddlers to thrill-seekers. But of course, when a theme park has so many great rides, there are bound to be long wait times. But guess what? With the unofficial guidebook to Disney World in hand, you’ll never wait the way those other people wait.
Now let’s get into the more specific secrets of Disney World’s main park: Magic Kingdom.
When you arrive at Magic Kingdom and begin to walk down Main Street USA you will notice that the pathway is red. The reason for this is because Walt Disney wanted you and other guests to feel as if you were walking down the red carpet. This is to make you feel special because you are special.
While we are talking about pain and colors, Disney has a specific color of gray-green paint, commonly referred to as “Go Away Green” or “No-See-Um-Green,” that they use on the objects in their parks that are necessary, yet not that pretty to look at. Like lampposts, backstage areas, machinery, they paint anything they don’t want you to notice this same color.
Along with that, Walt Disney World uses paint to help guests know what part of the park they are in at any given time. As you move through the different lands, for example from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland, the paint coloring on things like the walkways, fencing, and other details will change to match.
Going back to Main Street, I remember taking my sister to this hidden phone that is one of the shops in Magic Kingdom, when you pick up the phone you can hear a mother and her daughter back some time ago. Head to the candy store called Main Street Confectionery, located on the right as you look at the castle, for some real fun.
Also, take notice when you are walking down Main Street, USA, your nose will lead you in all directions thanks to the help of pipes pumping scents into the parks. These smells include those of baked goods and other fitting scents. Relating to this, Disney World has music and sound effects in every section of the park as well, and both the scents and sounds change depending on where you are.
This extreme attention to detail extends to all aspects of the Walt Disney World experience. Even in the case of the horse-drawn carriages that ride around Magic Kingdom, the horses’ horseshoes are coated in polyurethane to amplify the clip-clop sound as they walk by guests.
Many windows and stores on Main Street have names painted on them somewhere. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that each name is a significant person from Walt Disney’s life, included as an honor to them. There are so many of these significant inscriptions that there’s a wiki list of them all, and it’s quite long, so take a look if you’re interested in who each person is.
One extremely secretive aspect of Disney World is Club 33, and it has a high price tag. Starting as a secret lounge in Disneyland that Walt Disney used to entertain high profile guests, Club 33 became a membership only experience after his death. While the location at Disneyland is still there, albeit probably updated, there are now Club 33s in Tokyo Disneyland, Shanghai Disneyland, and Walt Disney World as well. In fact, there’s a Club 33 at all four WDW parks. In Magic Kingdom, Club 33 is called Captain’s Quarters and located near the entrance to Adventureland.
This may the biggest Disney World hidden secret, there are underground tunnels in Magic Kingdom. Well, this may not be a secret anymore, but they do exist. In order for cast members to get from place to place without guests seeing them is very important. So to make sure Cast Members are unseen, there are tunnels that run throughout Magic Kingdom. There is even a place for you to get your hair cut in these tunnels.
As for the main attraction — the castle — Disney works a little extra magic to make it look bigger than it is. Through forced perspective, done using different-sized bricks in construction, and other design elements, the magic castle appears larger than it really is.
When you find yourself on the Buzz Lightyear ride in Magic Kingdom get your gun ready and prepare to have the highest score possible. Once you enter the first room there will be a red robot with a claw. Fire upon these claws and you will earn 100,000 points. Continue to fire until you reach 999,999.
One ride that many guests skip out on is the Prince Charming Regal Carousel. While it appears to be like any other normal carousel, this specific one features one very special horse. On the attraction, there is a white horse with a laurel of pink roses, a light blue sash, and a gold ribbon wrapped around the tail. This happens to be Cinderella’s horse, located near the traveling bench.
If you look at the house numbers in Liberty Square, add an 18 and you will know what time period each building is meant to represent. Also, if you find yourself passing through Liberty Square and need to use the bathroom, keep going. There are no bathrooms present in Liberty Square because Disney’s Imagineers wanted to keep it historically accurate.
Another Disney World secret that may be known by now is the suite in Cinderella’s Castle. If you enter the contest to win an exclusive night in Cinderella’s Castle, you will be staying in the suite and have the park all to yourself.
Disney World Secrets – Hollywood Studios
With Toy Story Land, and eventually Star Wars, Hollywood Studios is leveling up! I used to consider this park “missable,” but I don’t anymore. Previously my favorite rides were Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Roller Coaster, but Hollywood Studios also boasts some of the best restaurants on property and of course the show, Fantasmic.
Speaking of, Fantasmic is definitely a must-see, and a fun fact about the show is that the lagoon it takes place in is super shallow, only about 1.5 feet deep.
The big store in Hollywood Studios called Mickey’s of Hollywood is modeled after Frederick’s of Hollywood, a famous women’s retailer whose flagship store was located on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA.
The pictures in the Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant that are in black frames are copies of the originals but the ones in the gold frame are from the original Brown Derby. Above this restaurant is where you can find the Hollywood Studios Club 33, called the Spotlight Lounge.
Disney World Secrets – Animal Kingdom
With the World of Avatar still being new to Disney World, the line to Animal Kingdom can look long in the morning. Even though there seems to be way too many people, Disney built the park for this. You won’t find yourself waiting too long to get into the park. But there is also a secret entrance into the park through the Rainforest Cafe.
However, the lines at the World of Avatar are massive. You most definitely should be using the Unofficial Guide to Disney World touring plan, but long story short, get a FastPass+ for Flight of Passage and ride the Na’vi River first thing in the morning. Thank me later.
You should try to ride Kilimanjaro Safari once during the day and after the sunset as well. It’s a whole different experience, and every time you ride you have the chance to see different animals. While you are over in the Africa section of the park, you can look for a building with the words Harambe House on the side. This is Animal Kingdom’s Club 33 location.
The Tree of Life is stunning, it consists of about 320 carved animals, on roots, the trunk, branches, and all over. You might even want to bring binoculars to get a better look, and there are definitely Hidden Mickeys to find on the tree. What can you see?
Disney World Secrets – Epcot
As a childless adult (for now), Epcot is one of my favorite parks. No matter how many times I tour the World Showcase, I always find something I haven’t seen before. My favorite ride is Spaceship Earth, which is planned to go through a multi-year refurbishment soon. It was originally planned to start in May 2020, but with the pandemic going on, Disney reopened the attraction and postponed the refurbishment. Right now, it is unclear what Disney’s new plan is for Spaceship Earth.
One thing about visiting Epcot that I really love is seeing the twinkling sidewalks when I am leaving the park later in the day. Make sure to look out for them, as not many people know this happens at night.
The World Showcase is 1.25 miles long. Sheesh
When you look at the Morocco Pavilion you can actually see the back of the Twilight of Terror (you know, the elevator ride in Hollywood Studios), but decorations were added to the building to make sure it blends in.
In the French Pavilion, you can find a smaller version of the country’s famous Eiffel Tower. In order to keep the structure clean, Disney uses a bird repellant. Otherwise, it would be full of birds (and poop).
In the Germany Pavilion, you can find a wall with a mural on it. Surprisingly, it’s not actually a wall. The structure covers the area where the Rhine River Ride was supposed to be. This was an attraction referenced in early press releases when the pavilion was originally announced. The Rhine is the river that cuts through the middle of Germany. It was likely planned to be similar to rides like Frozen Ever After and the Na’Vi River Journey, moving through different German locations and events.
Just like with the Germany Pavilion, the Japan Pavilion was originally planned, or at least considered, to have an attraction. The pavilion would’ve featured a recreation of Mount Fuji, and like the Matterhorn at Disneyland, a rollercoaster would’ve been housed inside the structure.
If you are passing through Epcot and come across the Chinese pavilion make your way to the pretty building to the right. You will come to a hallway and find a circular area where you can stand and hear your own echo.
Although the American Pavilion is probably not as popular as the others, this is where you can find the Constellation Club, Epcot’s Club 33.
Epcot was supposed to be a real working community when Walt Disney first envisioned it. It was going to be a community where Disney workers could thrive together and accomplish living together.
More, More Disney World Tips and Secrets
Ever heard of hidden Mickeys? If so, then you know that these are Mickey Mouse heads hidden throughout the parks and resorts to help entertain guests. Some are obvious, while others are so well-interwoven with the park’s design that many people miss them.
Going a step further, when you are on the Haunted Mansion ride, you can actually find a hidden Donald. The hidden Donald is visible on a chair that will be facing you when you’re riding through, so keep a close eye out.
No matter what park you are in, or resort you are staying at, there is said to be a trash can no more than 30 steps away. So hold onto your trash and make sure it is properly taken care of, there are no excuses.
Some insider secrets for the cast members include code talk and policy. If you hear code V ever in the park then you should know what to expect. There will be throw up. Code V means vomit, so beware. If you hear a 101 then this means that an attraction is down. When you hear 102, this means an attraction is back up and working.
Also if you hear someone say they are friends with a character then more than likely they are that person who dresses up as that character. For instance, if you were to ask someone what they do at Disney, they may respond, “I am friends with Goofy.” Then it is safe to assume that they are Goofy.
In the same way, Disney World cast members are taught never to say “I don’t know.” When a guest has a question or needs help, if a cast member doesn’t know, then they will put in the effort needed to find an answer. The consideration and care from cast members at Disney are on another level.
Some policies that you will see while a cast member is working is the two-finger or open hand point. One finger pointing is never allowed for a cast member while working. It is ingrained in their brains to not point with one finger because this can be seen as offensive.
While you will see plenty of American flags around Walt Disney World, it’s surprising to find out that none of them are real American flags. There is always a star or stripe missing, or some other change from the normal stars and stripes we all know.
Why is it like this? If Disney used real American flags, they would have to follow the American flag regulations, which include only flying them from sunrise to sunset. There are a couple of actual flags at Disney parks, and Disney usually puts their flags at half-mast in response to significant national events, like on September 11 of each year.
Disney World is the happiest place on earth and it is something worth experiencing. There is so much to see. I hope my tips help you in having the most magical time on your vacation. I also hope I have entertained you with some of Disney World’s hidden secrets.